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Church Clips by Dolores Madlener

Dolores Madlenera column of benevolent gossip

  • ‘Holy Day’ Inn? —

    The former convent in Our Lady of Victory Parish (W. Agatite) is being renovated and is open for business. Thanks to Mary Beth Frystak , director of religious ed/pastoral associate, and her assistant Lila Jahnke, they’ve already booked an overnight retreat and accommodated other travelers and folks just wanting a lovely meeting room for 25 or 30 people. Rates are on a sliding scale. A convent, empty for years, spelled “wasted space” to Frystak. Repairing and decorating the former residence of the School Sisters of St. Francis of Milwaukee has been ongoing over the past six months through donations of dollars, time and talents from parishioners and local businesses. One idea is parish clubs and people “adopting” a room and rolling up their sleeves to make it happen. Seven completed bedrooms have individual themes like, “Tuscany,” “Emerald Isle,” “Heaven and Earth,” “Rose Room” and “Mary Room.” The SPRED team remodeled the front parlor. Frystak’s former Regina High School teacher, Sister Nancy Murray , sis of actor-comedian Bill Murray, spent a night recently, She rated her stay three stars . The parish is also planning a memorial grotto next to the convent.
  • Milestones —

    Trinity High School (River Forest) celebrated 90 years of educating women leaders on Dec. 7, 2008. More than 600 alumnae, faculty and staff, students and their parents, board members and friends gathered in the school’s auditorium to celebrate Mass with Cardinal George .
  • Parish potpourri —

    During Advent, St. George (Tinley Park) parishioners dropped off Christmas cards in a box at the church entrance. They could jot an anonymous greeting or leave them blank for a team who would write notes and decorate the envelopes. Ultimately they were delivered to people in jail or prison. . . . The Family Teacher Connection of St. Linus Parish (Oak Lawn) will show off their physical prowess at all levels of experience when they meet all comers in an adult co-ed volleyball tournament Feb. 7. You can sign up as an individual and FTC will make up the teams. Could get brutal. Call Rose at (708) 636-4236 to get on board. . . . The teen club of St. Catherine’s (Oak Lawn) went Christmas caroling to the homebound Dec. 22, and ended at Starbuck’s for hot chocolate. . . . St. Christopher’s (Midlothian) sold luminaria lanterns for the 26th year — the Southwest tradition of candles in paper bags filled with sand lighting Christ’s way outdoors. . . . On Holy Family Sunday , Dec. 28, George Serena donated his 15th gallon (120 pints) of blood at Holy Family Church (Inverness). Life Source collected 80 units of blood, enough to save 240 lives, at the parish. . . . The 125th anniversary committee is looking for alumni and anyone who attended St. Aloysius Grade School (W. LeMoyne). The school closed 35 years ago. Contact the parish at (773) 278-4808.
  • ‘You can take the boy out of the country, but …’ —

    If you visit the front office and gift shop at St. Peter’s in the Loop (W. Madison) these days, you’ll find Franciscan Brother Leo Geurts . He was born and raised in rural Minnesota and says “I’ve always loved farm tractors. I was blessed to drive my first tractor by myself when I was six years old.” (His mother was not pleased.) By age 13 he had driven 13 different tractors, a jeep and two pickups. He did it all without a helmet! His desk in the front office is now adorned with scale models of various farm tractors. Stop by.
  • Something old —

    Ann Geraci, a Clips reader in Northbrook, bought an old prayer book at a farm sale many years ago. In it she found an original marriage certificate for Joseph Lynch and Mary Gill , married May 1, 1887. Old St. Mary’s Church (E. Van Buren) where the marriage took place, has no record of descendants. Geraci would “dearly love to give this item to a family member.” There’s also a heart-rending letter from Pattie Gill in Ballybunion, County Galway, Ireland, to three different people (to save paper and postage). It was handwritten in the 1880s by a friend, Michael Byrne of Coolorty, Ireland, to Gill’s daughterin- law, then to her daughter, and to her son-inlaw, with different comments to each. If you think you have a family connection, write Church Clips, Catholic New World, 3525 S. Lake Park Ave., Chicago IL 60653.
  • Junior Clips —

    Mike Rocus in St. Linus Parish (Oak Lawn) and a senior at St. Ignatius High School (W. Roosevelt), recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout . He follows in the path of his dad and older brother, also Eagles. His project involved donations for the Chicago Animal Welfare League. They ranged from 1,000 pounds of animal food to a bird leash. Proving once again that “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, brave, clean and reverent” are not just words. … The Boy Scouts at St. Edward Parish (W. Sunnyside) had patrons beating a path to their pasta dinner recently. They served 430 eager diners. That’s 80 more than last year.
  • New Year notes:

    From “ 52 Blessings Sometimes Overlooked ”: Losing even one pound. Someone saying you did a good job. Comfortable shoes. The sound of rain falling on the roof. Chocolate. The deep silence of an “empty” church.